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Tallahassee Man Given Three Life Sentences

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Thirty-four-year-old John Michael Ray was found guilty of five separate counts Wednesday. The counts are as follows: One count of kidnapping, one count of false imprisonment, one count of armed carjacking, one count of armed robbery, and one count of aggravated battery.

He was found guilty of kidnapping Heidi LeBlanc and her daughter at knife point last July in the Toys 'R Us parking lot, as they were finished shopping.

During closing arguments Wednesday, Defense Attorney Lilja Dandelake expressed to jurors there is a strong possibility that Ray was initially misidentified.

Next came the prosecution's turn. Attorney Robin Lotane made reference to photos of LeBlanc with bruises. She then showed jurors clothing samples with Ray's DNA, and a knife found in LeBlanc's van the day of the attack.

"He never said anything to her. He never asked her for any money. He immediately walked up to her, grabbed her from behind and started choking her. He had a premeditated design to kill Heidi LeBlanc until her daughter started screaming."

Ray was handed three life sentences for the crime. Following the sentencing, he entered a plea of guilty for a second unrelated robbery for which he was given an additional fifteen year sentence.


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